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7 arrested on child exploitation-related charges

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Erie County District Attorney John Flynn has announced that several individuals have been arrested for attempting to meet up with teens for sexual encounters.

The arrests follow an undercover joint investigation among the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, towns of Cheektowaga and Hamburg police departments and New York State Police.

The defendants are alleged to have contacted individuals they believed to be teenagers through assorted social media applications. They are identified as Howard Stives Jr., 47, of Westport, Kevin Piechowicz, 37, of Buffalo, Nicholas Sabha, 29, of Lewiston and Nicholas Shepard, 25, of Springville. All have been arraigned on various charges in Cheektowaga Town Court.

In Hamburg Town Court, arraignments were completed against Richard Zloty, 69, of Orchard Park, Anthony Aronica, 29, of West Seneca and Kristopher Smoyer, 36, of Amherst.

Criminal cases against all defendants are pending.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.